The haunting cries of five-year-old Rawan Alowsh, pulled alive from rubble in Aleppo by her ponytail, have reminded the world once again that behind the politics of Syria’s civil war are millions of vulnerable children. Government air strikes in recent days have pounded rebel-held areas of Aleppo, where more than 250,000 civilians are trapped. Britain’s permanent representative to the UN said the attacks had “unleashed a new hell on Aleppo”, which he described as war crimes. In the middle of the conflict there are at least 100,000 children, aid agencies estimate. Save the Children warned that approximately half the casualties being treated in eastern Aleppo were children. It said injured children were dying on the floors of hospitals due to shortages of equipment and medicines.
Up to 600,000 children are among the civilians who are trapped in Mosul, according to Save the Children. It is a critical moment to protect children and ensure safe escape routes for the roughly 1.5 million civilians, including 600,000 children, who are still trapped in the city, according to a statement from Save the Children. We can’t sit back and wait for a situation similar to the one in Aleppo can unfold, while there is still time to get your kids out of the war zone, says the chief of Save the Children’s work in Iraq, Maurizio Crivellaro. Iraqi Special Forces entered the outskirts of Mosul on Tuesday morning, but has met fierce resistance from IS.
In just one recent four-week period (mid-September to mid-October) something like 120 children were killed by the barrel bombing and air strikes in east Aleppo. That’s an average of four or five children killed every day. In just east Aleppo. It’s an absolute tragedy and nothing can justify it. The wider situation for children in Syria is beyond bleak. Thousands have already been killed (there don’t even seem to be accurate figures), around 2.7m are not going to school (there have been thousands of attacks on school buildings), and something like eight million children have been growing up knowing nothing but conflict. What a generational disaster.